Dream On: A Rockin' Good ADHD Mind

Aerosmith's iconic, loud-mouthed, ever-eccentric Steven Tyler says he is "ADD personified" at age 63.
Confessions of an ADDiva | posted by Linda Roggli, PCC
Aerosmith singer and American Idol judge Steven Tyler

"I used to say that my train of thought made all the stops!" said Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler during an interview with "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan. "I'm ADD personified."

Amen, brother! Tyler's brain races faster than Japan's Bullet Train, leaving "60 Minutes" producer John Hamlin in the dust. "Interviewing him was a challenge," said Hamlin in a post-show conversation. "When you ask him a question about Subject A, he ends up on Subject D, E or F... A lot of times [the answer] has nothing to do with the question we've asked."

Hmmm. Sounds like ADHD to me; and "Predominantly Hyperactive" ADHD at that. Tyler's mind works so fast he needs a triple dose of stimulation to maintain even a modicum of focus. During Aerosmith concerts, a sound effects guy sends wacky, goofy sounds into Tyler's earphones, sort of an audio fidget to occupy his wandering ADHD brain.

"I would think that if you're onstage, the front man of a rock and roll band in front of 15,000 people, that you're pretty focused on what's going on, " said Hamlin. "But he's got a guy in his ear keeping him entertained!"

As I watched the interview again on the CBS News website, I was struck by Tyler's classic ADHD symptoms. His bandmates report that he's often demanding and sometimes impossible to talk to. And he admits tossing hurtful remarks in their direction.

"I've said many things to those guys I never should have said," said Tyler. "That I didn't mean. But I tell the truth. That's why they don't like me."

Lara Logan described Tyler as "always unfiltered and spontaneous," which easily translate to the ADHD vernacular, "lack of inhibition" and "impulsive."

At age 63, Tyler is clearly among the four to five percent of adults who did not 'outgrow' their ADHD. His zany, sassy attitude is as bold and forthright as his music. And he is certainly not in the closet about his diagnosis. Logan asked Tyler about juggling his duties on television's "American Idol" show with the demands of creating yet another new Aerosmith album.

Logan: So you will actually write lyrics while you're driving?

Tyler: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. You know that I'm ADD, uh, personified.

Logan: And OCD?

Tyler: I'm not sure about that. But I'm ADD...Um, uh, now I forgot what I was saying.

Logan: Sorry. I interrupted you.

Hey, this is ADHD personified, Lara Logan. You don't interrupt a train of thought that makes all the stops. Only the ADD-ish Steve Tyler is allowed to do that!

How do you feel about Steven Tyler's "brand" of ADHD? Did you grow up listening to his music? What's your take on his 63-year-old hyperactivity?

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